By Jeffrey Damicog
Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the whistleblowers in the “ghost dialysis” scam may apply for the Witness Protection Program (WPP).
Guevarra gave the assurance in response to calls of the lawyer of the whistleblowers, former presidential spokesman Harry Roque, to have Edwin Roberto and Liezel Aileen De Leon placed under the WPP.
“These whistleblowers may of course apply, but the DOJ will evaluate their applications very carefully,” said the Secretary who disclosed Roque has already reached out to him regarding the matter.
The two whistleblowers and WellMed Dialysis and Laboratory Center Corporation owner Dr. Bryan Christopher Sy were already subjected to inquest proceedings before the DOJ on Tuesday based on the complaint filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth).
Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Anna Noreen Devanadera who conducted the inquest proceedings said the case has been submitted for resolution based on the documents submitted by the complainants since the camp of Sy no longer wants to undergo preliminary investigation.
Sy and the whistleblowers will remain under NBI custody until the resolution of the case has been issued.
Earlier, NBI Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin defended the decision of NBI investigators to include the whistleblowers in the complaint.
“Because if we are going to use them later on as state witnesses, then in the first place they will be criminally charged, and later on we will file a motion to exclude them from the charges,” he explained.
In the complaint, a total of 10 respondents were accused of having committed estafa and falsification of public documents in violation of the Revised Penal Code.
Apart from the whistleblowers and Sy, the other respondents in the complaint are officials and employees of WellMed, namely, Sy’s wife Therese Francesca Tan-Sy, Dr. John Ray Gonzales, Claro Sy, Alvin Sy, Dick Ong, Dr. Porsha Natividad, and Dr. Joemie Soriano.
The controversy stemmed from revelations made by Roberto and De Leon who both claimed that the facility has been filing false claims for bogus dialysis sessions using the names of dead patients.
PhilHealth pays for these claims as every Philhealth member is entitled to 90 free dialysis sessions a year.